Countdown: Tressel’s fans, Tebow’s eyes, Frenchy’s shorts

Look ma: No car deal.

Look ma: No car deal.

It never ceases to amaze The Count how some people will defend their morally bankrupt heroes to the end, even when it’s clear their morally bankrupt heroes are dirty, rotten cheaters. This happens all the time. Ohio State fans ignore evidence that Jim Tressel is a dirty, rotten cheater by saying he did wonderful charity work. I’m not sure, but didn’t Al Capone also do wonderful charity work? And to the first person who screams, “He compared Jim Tressel to Al Capone!” — you have no friends, and there’s a cleanup on aisle six. But about this Tressel thing: When are people going to let go? We count down . . .

10. Since when do fired coaches guarantee victories?

It's nice to know some folks are keeping things in perspective. (AP photo)

It's nice to know some folks are keeping things in perspective. (AP photo)

It just keeps getting worse. Ohio State released phone records that show, among other things, Tressel exchanged 77 phone calls and text messages with Terrelle Pryor’s hometown mentor, Ted Sarniak, on April 10 after a former player tipped him off to possible NCAA violations. Kinda paints a picture of a coach scrambling in the shadows. Since his “resignation,” Tressel has lost his naming rights of a steak special at a Columbus restaurant; and a minor league baseball team, the Fort Myers Miracle, held a “Rest the Vest” night (fans could were asked to donate old sweater vests and, if possible, show off their tattoos). But Tressel loyalists are sticking to their guy, like fungus. Some made a pilgrimage to his house and sang, “We Don’t Give a Damn About the Whole State of Michigan.” Tressel, just happy it wasn’t “60 Minutes” knocking on the door, came out to join them. And then he promised, “On Nov. 26, we’re gonna kick their [butt].” (He was talking about the Michigan game, not a meeting with the NCAA enforcement committee.)
Playing to the crowd

9. And the next school to go on probation will be . . .

Hey Lane, odds on the Trojans are 8-1.

Hey Lane, odds on the Trojans are 8-1.

While we’re on the subject of college sports meltdowns, the boys at BetUS.com have done it again. They’re listing odds on what school gets in trouble with the NCAA next. Good news, Georgia and Georgia Tech fans: You’re down the list. The low odds to commit an NCAA violation (not specifying sport) are USC (8-1); Ohio State (9-1); and Florida , Ole Miss and Memphis (10-1 each). Georgia is listed at 14-1 to commit a violation. UGA and Tech each are 14-1 to get investigated in football. By the way, the over-under on arrests at Florida has been set at 2. Seems like an easy cover.

8. Tim Tebow! Tim Tebow! Tim Tebow!

The decline of American journalism continues. The Denver Post opened a Facebook thread asking readers: “We’re working on a story about the appeal that Tim Tebow has with teenage and younger women. Our question is: Why? What’s so fascinating about him? If you’re in this demographic, contact reporter Weston Phippen.” I think there’s a good chance this story eventually will be turned into a screen play. Then a movie. Maybe a Pulitzer? No idea what kind of responses the Post is getting but there are a string of humorous comments on Facebook, including this one from a woman: “As a Gator who attended Florida, and does respect Tim Tebow as an athlete and a positive influence… I STILL think this is a dumb-as-rocks idea for a ‘news’ story.”

7. Checking in on the remaining Atlanta Spirit property: oops

The Count has received several emails from Hawks/Thrashers fans who claim they will not attend Hawks games next season out of protest because of the way the Atlanta Spirit ran down and then drop-kicked the hockey team into oblivion (or Winnipeg). It follows that some in the Hawks’ offices are bracing for yet another Atlanta Spirit backlash. Now it gets even better: a botched peace offering. The Hawks have invited season-ticket holders to a “Hawks Appreciation Night” at the Buckhead Bottle Bar (which is owned by Zaza Pachulia) for cocktails and a viewing of Game 5 of the NBA finals. One season ticket holder forwarded me their invitation. The second time this person received it, the invitation included this addendum:

Damien Wilkins as well as George Teague will be in Attendance

hawks

I’m going to assume the employee meant Jeff Teague and not George Teague. Then again, until the playoffs, we all kind of forgot his name, too. It’s also possible the Spirit is reaching out to Alabama fans, given the owners have alienated so many inside of state boundaries. The same employee also typed “your invited” instead of “you’re invited” in the subject line, a common mistake, although probably not one that an ownership group fighting credibility problems should be making. On a related note, I’m still waiting for my invitation.

6. A new look for Francoeur: Pink spikes and underwear

Jeff Francoeur is keeping things loose in Kansas City. Also, he looks great in pink.

Jeff Francoeur is keeping things loose in Kansas City. Also, he looks great in pink. (AP photo)

In the midst of the Braves having a miserable time with their offense, it won’t make you feel any better to learn that Jeff Francoeur is having a solid season with Kansas City (.276, nine homers, 35 RBI) after hitting .340 in the final 15 games last season with Texas. Also, he recently took batting practice wearing only underwear and pink cleats. And yes, I know: His nickname is Frenchy. Via the Royals blog in the Kansas City Star, Francoeur cracked up his teammates when he wore only skivvies and pink spikes (which the Royals wore to raise breast cancer awareness). Then again, Francoeur also used to wear his “lucky turkey” underwear when he was with the Braves to help break losing streaks. Francoeur says when he played for a National League team (the Braves or the Mets), he told teammates he would try to help break a losing streak by taking batting practice in the nude — presumably in the indoor cage — wearing only shoes and batting gloves. His team scored 11 runs that night so it wasn’t necessary. Did a little research. For what it’s worth: The Braves had a five-game losing streak in August of 2008 when Francoeur went 4-for-5 against San Francisco in an 11-5 win. So I’m thinking: Dan Uggla has tried everything else. It might be time to break out the Victoria’s/Frenchy’s Secret collection.

5. FIFA: Look out! They’re wearing head scarves!

Here are Iranian women soccer players wearing their dangerous head gear.

Here are Iranian women soccer players wearing their dangerous, man-eating head scarves. (AP photo)

It’s one thing to be corrupt. But stupid too? FIFA, which governs soccer when it’s not involved with bribery or rigging elections — or maybe that should read: governs while involved with bribery and rigging elections — forced the Iran women’s soccer team to forfeit an Olympic qualifying match because players showed up wearing head scarves (hajibs).  FIFA believes the scarves can cause choking injuries. Of course they can. For similar reasons, a soccer team of Hasidic rabbis never would be allowed to compete. You just never know when a yarmulke might come flying off a scalp and behead somebody. (Sudden thought: Awesome James Bond bad guy “Oddjob” at center-forward.) I understand these rules are not new. But it’s not like the Iranian women have an advantage with the head covering. Also, not buying the “safety” issues. No worries. There’s still time before the 2012 Olympics. FIFA is always open to legislative changes and will keep its night drop-box open should Iran decide to spin by with a financial inducement.

Meanwhile, about Oddjob . . .

4. Atlanta Thrashers: Rest in pieces

They passed at such a young age.

The Thrashers are gone but their fans haven’t quite let go. Several congregated the other night at one of The Count’s frequent haunts: T.J.’s Sports Bar in Alpharetta (owned by ex-Atlanta Flame Tim Ecclestone). Had the chance to meet a few.

Also discovered this week that several folks have adjusted their avatars on Facebook and Twitter, many using  the tombstone pictured on the left (The Count has a soft spot for tombstones and graveyards). Credit goes to Bill Sengstacken, who wrote in an email: “I really didn’t expect it to go viral. It was kind of weird to see that being used by all of my Thrashers pals on their Facebook profiles at the same time. Feel free to use it as you see thrash goodbyefit, as long as it is to crap on the Atlanta Spirit Group, that is!”

Jeff Eaton has adjusted his Twitter avatar now include the crying bird. He wrote: “The reason I created and used the crying Thrasher avatar is for all the good people getting swept under by the wake. … I guess over the years this has taught me to become more a fan of the game itself and great hockey rather than getting too emotionally tied to one specific team.”

To you, my friends, I send out this appropriate tune (if you’ve got about 10 minutes).

Funeral for a friend/Love Lies Bleeding

3. LSU: It’s not our fault that our recruits are dumb

Meet Joe Alleva, "Exhibit A" of the oversigning problem.

Meet Joe Alleva, "Exhibit A" of the oversigning problem.

The Count acknowledges the SEC is the greatest college football conference in the world, even if the occasionally incredibly stupid comment from the occasionally incredibly stupid coach or administrator makes us go, “He didn’t really say that, did he?” Like LSU athletic director Joe Alleva. This is how a major college administrator justifies the pathetic practice of oversigning: “You’ve got to understand, the elementary education and secondary education in the state of Louisiana is not the best in the world. So we have kids coming out, and we don’t know if they are going to qualify or not. We don’t know if they’re going to get through the NCAA clearinghouse and be eligible. Same for the states of Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas. So a lot of times, you may need to sign 28 to get to 25.” So basically, Alleva prefers to blame the educational systems of the states LSU recruits from rather than admit it probably would be better to not recruit academic borderline kids who probably are going to flunk out or not qualify. Yeah, that makes sense. It’s a great way for an athletic program to absolve itself of any responsibility. How do these people get jobs?

2. Gay softball league: Don’t even think of pretending you’re gay

nagaaa_logo1The Count isn’t sure that this belongs on the same level of issues as, say, women’s rights activists fighting for membership at Augusta National. But if you’re going to play in their softball league, the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance apparently demands some kind of proof that you’re not just pretending to be gay. A federal judge in Seattle has ruled that the NAGAAA (I’m not making that up) can temporarily keep its rules that limit the number of heterosexual players who are on each team in the Gay Softball World Series. Three men, who claimed they were bisexual, apparently brought the suit because the league said they were not gay enough. You know: They didn’t look gay. They didn’t sound gay. They didn’t act gay. (I really wish I was making this up.) By the way, just wondering: Is it the suggestion by the “Alliance” that too many semi-straight males represents an unfair advantage? The judge said he will allow the case to go forward. Quoting from a Seattle Times article: “During the game, the manager of another team filed a protest under the rule that limits the number of non-gay players. The men contend they were brought, one at a time, into a room containing as many as 25 people and questioned about their sexual preferences. The panel members then voted on whether they men were gay or non-gay.” (Did I mention that I’m not making this up?) Here’s what I would like to know: How would the NAGAAA feel if somebody started a Heterosexuals Only Softball League? Or what if any of the pro sports leagues — all of whom have preached tolerance and have issued fines and suspensions for anti-gay slurs — suddenly said: “Sorry. Straights only.” The Count says: It works both ways.

1. And finally . . .

Attention, rookies: This is how you eventually get a baseball thrown at your cranium. Washington Nationals prospect Bryce Harper, who plays for Single-A Hagerstown (Md.), crushed a home run off Greensboro pitcher Zachary Neal. Then he blew him a kiss after he rounded third base. So it appears Harper’s head has not quite caught up with his physical maturity. Don’t expect to see him in the majors right away. Take a look.

By Jeff Schultz

Earlier: If Uggla doesn’t turn things around, Braves are sunk

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

107 comments Add your comment

Buckeye

June 7th, 2011
9:55 am

Schutz,

Will you join me is support for the Anthony Weiner for President fund?

MatthewH

June 7th, 2011
9:58 am

Good stuff as always

Buckeye

June 7th, 2011
10:00 am

Oh ya,

First

MatthewH

June 7th, 2011
10:00 am

I’m not advocating violence, but someone needs to go high and tight next time Bryce Harper comes up to bat. Is there a back story there? Does he have a history with that pitcher?

PMC

June 7th, 2011
10:02 am

On Joe Alleva, Count, you’ve just got to understand, the secondary education system in Louisiana just isn’t that good, we don’t know whether an AD would qualify to speak publically or not.

Buckeye

June 7th, 2011
10:05 am

Fungus, Jeff? Really?

Matt from MN

June 7th, 2011
10:12 am

Harper is going to be (or perhaps already is) a world-class “A-hole”.

shankit

June 7th, 2011
10:19 am

November 26, 2011. a new college football tradition begins
Who will dot the “I” at midfield in Ann Arbor?

Ryan

June 7th, 2011
10:20 am

As a straight man in American let me say I am tired of being discriminated against. No more! I want to let all the gays out there know I am a man and I like women!! Deal with it!

Chi Town

June 7th, 2011
10:20 am

Respect Saban.

Al Capone

June 7th, 2011
10:22 am

If you had any guts, you would have compared him to Hitler, not me :)

Bobby Bobby

June 7th, 2011
10:23 am

Atlanta readers could care less about “Frenchy”. Time to find someone new to write about on slow days. Just sayin!

PTC DAWG

June 7th, 2011
10:26 am

An earhole shot for sure.

Frank Lane

June 7th, 2011
10:34 am

ON the gay issue, the same logic applies to many minorities. What would the NAACP say about a National Association of White People?

I am not bigoted against any group based on color, sexual practices or anything but political correctness and worn me down and dulled my enthusiasm for America.

Buckeye

June 7th, 2011
10:35 am

Al Capone,

Do you think Robert Dinero will play Tressel in the movie?

P-Man

June 7th, 2011
10:36 am

LOVE the Count!!!!

shankit

June 7th, 2011
10:38 am

Buckeye, you’re a nut.

Slow summer, huh Jeff?

June 7th, 2011
10:39 am

2 mentions of a now defunct hockey team’s former owners, womens soccer (and, potentially, Al Quieda soccer at that), plus mentions of teeny bopper girls and Tim Tebow, gay softball (now there’s an oxynmoron for ya), and Francouer in pink undies…this may qualify as the worst “Top 10″ of all time…

PTC DAWG

June 7th, 2011
10:40 am

Someone needs to check around for a lost sense of humor……

Buckeye

June 7th, 2011
10:40 am

shankit (aka Anthony Weiner),

A senior susiphone player will dot the “i” in Ann Arbor this November.

marseilles mutt

June 7th, 2011
10:40 am

I ain’t touchin’ that “It works both ways.” line!

Is The Count ‘coming out’?

Tide Rising

June 7th, 2011
10:44 am

Enter your comments here

shankit

June 7th, 2011
10:45 am

Does the Wolverine band have two susophone players in the band?
Michigan does have two “I’s”. Heard they are going to dot both of them on November 26th.

Dr. Phil

June 7th, 2011
10:45 am

I’m just sayin’, besides Francoeur’s stats cited above, Melky Cabrera is batting .275 with 6 homeruns and Escobar is hitting .280 with 8 homers.

Buckeye

June 7th, 2011
10:45 am

shankit ( aka Anthony Weiner),

You’re a di……………………………oops. Can’t say it.

William Satterwhite

June 7th, 2011
10:48 am

The Hawks Appreciation Night invitation thing really takes the cake, after the gaffe on the official statement originally uploaded on the Thrashers (”We express my gratification”), it’s clear ASG is the epitome of a Mickey Mouse organization and can’t do anything right.

woman in the throes

June 7th, 2011
10:49 am

Good stuff, Count.

So if a team can have 3 non-gay players, shouldn’t they be allowed to have 6 half gay (bisexual) players instead?

Tide Rising

June 7th, 2011
10:50 am

So we have kids coming out, and we don’t know if they are going to qualify or not. We don’t know if they’re going to get through the NCAA clearinghouse and be eligible. Same for the states of Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas. So a lot of times, you may need to sign 28 to get to 25.”- Jeff

Jeff,

Sorry Jeff but he’s got a point. The education systems in the deep south simply aren’t up to par with the rest of the country and we’re going to have substantially more borderline students. How it is that you can’t understand such a simple concept is nothing short of amazing. Poorer education systems means more borderline student athletes.

BTW, given the issues of the Clayton County School system last year and the Atlanta Public school system with the accrediting board you should be throwing the state of Georgia in that mix with AL, MS, AR, and LA, I believe GA usually ranks mid 40s in education so being 45th compared to 47th doesn’t mean this state is full of Einsteins.

nobody

June 7th, 2011
10:51 am

Harper looks like a dbag. Especially with that mustache and mullet look thing.

Daniel

June 7th, 2011
10:51 am

How do you justify slamming Bryce Harper for blowing a kiss at the pitcher and not mention his tragic 70’s porn star mustache? There is clearly a joke involving the blown kiss, the mustache and the need to prove his sexual preferences (ala NAGAAA) in there. Come on count you just can’t let that slide by.

Mark (another one)

June 7th, 2011
10:56 am

When will these schools like The Ohio State defend themselves against people like Tressell by suing them for breach of contract? NCAA rules are between the Association and the schools. The schools have the contracts with the coaches and players. The NCAA can’t sue but the schools can. Tressell needs to be run out on a rail.

Objective observer

June 7th, 2011
10:56 am

Count always good for laughs.
Too bad those nailed have no sense of humor.

Abbey Normal

June 7th, 2011
10:59 am

I tried to join a women’s softball league, but they turned me down when they found out I had a N.Y. congressman.

Mike

June 7th, 2011
11:00 am

Jeff,

I don’t know if you ever read but Bryce Harper did an interview last fall where he admitted to being a Duke Basketball, Dallas Cowboy NFL, UT football, Laker NBA and Yankee MLB fan.

I think that’s enough of a reason to throw at him every time.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dcsportsbog/2010/09/bryce_harpers_favorite_sports.html

Joey

June 7th, 2011
11:01 am

That kiss-blowing stuff is kinda creepy. But, so is the porno mustache Harper is sporting.

Maybe if his baseball career doesn’t pan out, he may qualify for the NGAAA?

Delbert D.

June 7th, 2011
11:13 am

Tide – I agree with you on all counts about the education system. A couple of months ago, the State of Georgia reduced their estimate of the percentage of kids graduating from high school downward to 64%, a drop of some 14 points from previous estimates. The Clayton County situation is well known, of course. They did get the school system re-certified recently, I believe.

Vain Jangling

June 7th, 2011
11:17 am

I’ve thought of too many common baseball cliches that could go hand-in-hand with the gay softball story. However, I know that this is a family column, so I’ll resist the urge. I will conclude, however, by noting that Bryce Harper should be expecting a high hard one the next time he’s at the plate, because competitive juices will be flowing.

Yeah, you’re right. . . I’ll get back to work now.

Tell the truth

June 7th, 2011
11:23 am

There is an easy fix to the heart breaking SEC dilemma- set a minimum standard for SEC schools to use in choosing potential hs recruits- either that or raise the number for annual recruits to say 35 – just to make sure that they both get who they want and ensure that no one else gets the extra ten kids. Would the SEC coaches be happy with that rule? Hmmmmm?

DawginLex

June 7th, 2011
11:26 am

With that ’stache, Harper looks like he will be working for Vivid Entertainment once his baseball career flames out……………….

Edna Walker

June 7th, 2011
11:34 am

The story on the LSU Athletic Director was absolutely hilarious. Did he really say that? He obviously was caught off guard or was he? Why didn’t he stop after the first sentence and start backtracking?

NCBravesFan

June 7th, 2011
11:35 am

Maybe Bryce Harper thought he was playing in the gay softball league – ?

Jeff: I’d like to draft the Count as a candidate for President in 2012. I think having the undead run things for a while could be kind of cool – and the Count seems reasonable enough.

Ted M

June 7th, 2011
11:42 am

When did that Bryce Harper thing happen? What happened in his next AB? What did the pitcher do right then? Or did he not see it?

I still want to see the kid play.

Ted M

June 7th, 2011
11:44 am

Maybe the pitcher gave Harper some chin music just prior to that homer.

Ricky Booby

June 7th, 2011
11:44 am

Another brilliant article Jeff! We’ve missed the count!

AZTEC

June 7th, 2011
11:46 am

why arent you bashing BYU for actually blatantly cheating on the field of play at end of the game which clearly would have lost the game for BYU? im still scatching my head on why the NCAA is more worried about players selling their own personal items instead of investigating BYU.

lefty fielder

June 7th, 2011
11:49 am

I think the Bryce Harper gesture would be okay . . . even encouraged in an NAGAAA game.

AZTEC

June 7th, 2011
11:53 am

BYU should have been given the death penalty for that incident but clearly the rich MORMONS paid them off before the NCAA could get a full investigation going.

Larry

June 7th, 2011
11:57 am

Looks to me like the pitcher was very close to him and doing a stare down as he rounded third and he just kissed at him during the stare down. I thought he handled this in a quick, simple and funny way versus saying anything or charging the pitcher.

Some of you guys are a bunch of sensitive sissy’s!

Ted M

June 7th, 2011
11:59 am

Sounds like a reasonable explaination Larry. Harper could have smiled after tho.

I still want to see the kid play.

Napoleon

June 7th, 2011
12:03 pm

Something to keep in mind about Harper, he’s really just a SR. in high school, and for what he lacks in maturity he makes up for in the distance his ball travels with each swing.